Letters to the editor

Diversity is vital to Cornell education

I very much enjoyed and appreciated the article on diversity at Cornell in the fall 2011 Cornell Report. Along with the students, faculty and staff who are featured in the article, I believe that an understanding and appreciation of the rich heritage of cultural and social diversity in the United States, and in the world beyond, is a vital component of a Cornell education and a central part of its mission.

It is gratifying to witness the increasing diversity of the student body and to learn more about the good work of Ken Morris and all those assisting him in the Office of Intercultural Life. And it is important to reiterate that Ken's work builds on the efforts of many who preceded him, including generations of Cornell students who helped found and who nourished the development of the Multicultural Council, now reborn as the Diversity Committee after faculty approval this fall. These students are far too numerous to name, but I hope that when they did read this article they were able to appreciate how much their efforts have mattered and how much richer the life of the college now is because of their contributions.

Progress has been slow at times, sometimes painful, and often several steps forward have been followed by steps backward. All of us make mistakes sometimes, lapse in our efforts on occasion, and now and then disagree on matters of strategy. But the Martin Luther King tree still stands on the Hilltop, near King Chapel where Dr. King once spoke, as testament to Cornell's commitment to the challenge and promise of building a diverse and inclusive college community.

Let us all hope for and continue to work toward Ken Morris' dream for the future of Cornell when diversity is woven into the fabric of college life and all students can feel at home from their very first days on the campus.

Chris Carlson
Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Anthropology
Mount Vernon, Iowa

Cornell comes to Chicago

As the immediate past president of the Cornell College Club of Chicago, and a lifelong Chicagoan, I am thrilled about the McLennan Center. I know that the city has much to offer. Among my classmates, a block in Chicago was often a highlight of their Cornell experience. For many it was their first time living in a major metropolitan city combined with an amazing learning experience with their professor and fellow students. As an alum, it has been wonderful meeting with faculty and students for "Lunch and Learns" while they are in the city. I see the McLennan Center as a small piece of Cornell here in Chicago that will enable us to host more alumni events in the city, allowing more alumni to "Connect with Cornell" in a meaningful way. Thanks Bob and Becky for making this possible. I'm looking forward to our first event in the fall of 2012!

Andrea Herrera '85

Bev is missed

Cornell College lost much more than an alumni office coordinator with the recent passing of Bev Moser Perlenfein. Bev was the one constant willing and able to provide the continuity and support so critical to the effective operation of the Alumni Association during the occasional changing of alumni directors.

A staple of the alumni registration desk during Homecoming activities, she supplied countless services and friendship throughout her more than 30 years with Cornell.

I met Bev when I served as president of the Alumni Association in the late 1990s. Our relationship soon developed from a valued source of staff assistance to a genuine friendship, which continued to the day of her death. Not only will I miss her personally, but the entire Cornell alumni body will be poorer by her absence.

Thomas Cox '52
Lincolnshire, Ill.

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